In this Facebook Live, I dove into the content planning phase and shared exactly how I create my 3 month content calendar. I also included my secret to actually executing on the calendar and creating the content in just a few hours. I provided you with the exact spreadsheet I use as a free download so you can implement it in your own business. Of course, everyone’s minds work differently. If my system (which I personally think is visually consumable) doesn’t work for you, please use a system that works best and makes most sense for you. Enjoy!
Note: my video cut out halfway through, so there are 2 parts to this live video below!
Why You Should Plan Your Content
First of all, I want to talk about why planning out your content can be a total game changer. Here are 3 (of many) reasons:
- Being intentional about developing the plan allows you to be strategic for how you plan out your content topics over a period of time. It basically serves as a roadmap of the message you are trying to relay back to your audience. For example, I am launching a course in September. Leading up to that date, I will be very strategic with how and what I push out to the world. My content calendar clearly maps that out for me in a way that will make my launch successful.
- It saves time! Because you are planning ahead, you can save time by batching your content and even save time brainstorming for each piece. It’s already planned out, so all you need to do is sit down and create!
- Having a strategy helps decrease the content planning overwhelm! If you own a business, then you likely know the feeling of content overwhelm. At some point, have you scrambled to come up with a topic for a blog post, video, podcast episode, a social media post, or email? There are SO many platforms that are demanding our content. The overwhelm can quickly get intense if you’re not planning ahead of time.
I mean, that’s our goal, right? We want to decrease overwhelm and feel more confident and capable of the content we’re pushing out so that we can truly focus on delivering awesome value to our audiences. Right?
Putting Together your Content Plan
Ok, let’s go through the steps of strategically populating your content calendar! If you are here in this planning stage, then I am assuming you already know what type of content you want to push out. You have probably identified the channels you want to use and your general area of expertise. If not, no worries; click here for more resources on getting set up on those key areas.
Stick with me until the last couple steps because they are truly the KEY steps to making this whole content thing happen and actually be implemented!
1. Establish Your Current Goals
First of all, you want to document your content goals. The goal itself won’t get you where you want to go, but it will serve as a good direction as you build out your plan. For me, my goal is to expand my audience, gain credibility and help support the launch of my course. So, my content topics are very specific and tie back to everything I am creating in my course. For you, let’s say your goal is to create awareness around an issue or cause. Establish your expertise, promote a product or service for you or another company you are an affiliate for, or something different.
2. When and How Often Will You Publish Content?
Once you establish your goal, you can then determine how that goal will translate into your weekly core content. Again, core content can be in the form of blog posts, podcast episodes or video, and it’s the primary type of content that provides value to your audience. As I gear up for the launch, I am committing to 1-3 pieces of core content each week. If you are just starting out, just begin with 1. This will actually be quite a bit of a commitment if you are working a full time job as well. Once you pick how many times you want to post a week, determine your publishing day and get it on your calendar. This is important! If you don’t get it in your calendar now, it’s going to be really difficult to stay consistent and committed! I like doing Tuesday and Wednesdays for publishing my core content, but choose what makes most sense to you and your audience!
3. Brainstorming Session
Ok guys, now we can have some fun! I want you to take out a sheet of paper or open a Google Doc and start brainstorming all the content topics you could write that will support your end goals, your audience’s needs, and your business’ purpose. Don’t edit or delete, just use this time for a brain dump and get it all out! In the next step we will prune and rearrange. If you are having trouble thinking of some ideas, remember what I always say “work less, impact more”. So, if you’re stuck, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What am I doing that is working well already? If you have planned content that is already performing well, how can you repurpose it or write about it from a different perspective with a new spin?
- What do I already have going on this month that I could repurpose? If you will be attending events, writing articles, doing interviews, or something else content worthy, what can you use and develop into content?
- What is your audience always asking you? If your audience has questions and needs support is some way, creating content to support their concerns and meet their needs is a great idea. You could also survey your audience to see what type of content topics they would find most valuable!
If you want some awesome ideas on picking the BEST topics for your content, check out my recent live video “Topic about topics”!
4. Perfecting Your Topic List
Alright, now we can tidy up your list. First, I want you to rearrange your content in some sort of a logical order. For example, the content in my upcoming course comes from 3 phases. The planning phase of content, the actual creation phase, and the content marketing phase. I want to be somewhat strategic about when I publish certain topics so they flow in a certain order that makes sense for my audience. Think about how and when you want your audience to consume your content, and rearrange as you feel necessary.
Once you have an order, it’s time to prune, or add topics if necessary. Calculate how many pieces of content topics you need to fit into your content calendar you are populating. If you do a 3 month calendar, and post once per week, you will need somewhere between 12-15 topics. Take a good look at your list- if you need to think of a few more ideas, see where the gaps are in your list. Ask yourself, what types of content topics you’ll need to create and fill those gaps. If you need to shorten the amount of topics, identify the topics that don’t seem to fit well with the other content. If it doesn’t align with your business, or is something your audience probably isn’t interested in, then put it aside for now. Try consolidating your list to help navigate what topics could be combined into one content piece.
5. Fill Your Calendar
Once you get this list where you want it, it’s time to plot your topics onto your calendar. If you are doing one piece each week, start at the top of your list and add them into your calendar in the order you have them listed.
6. Adding In Other Forms Of Content
Now, it’s time to add any extra content you will be creating. For me, I do a Facebook LIVE each week, weekly emails to my list, and opt-ins or freebies. I recommend you get these into your calendar as well. Here are a couple different ways you can do that. Try adding the topics directly in your calendar for each week and highlight each in a different color. Or, if you want to create the extra pieces based on the same topic as your core content for that week, then I recommend just highlighting the actual content topic cells on your calendar that you will be doing those for. Here is what mine looks like.
7. Important: Block out Time on Your Calendar
Now, this is probably the most important step in creating your content calendar, and most people stop after the last step and don’t get here. It’s the step that makes us way more likely to actually implement! You need to schedule on your calendar WHEN you will be creating the content and getting it all set and ready to go for publishing. Right now I am creating my content on a weekly basis, once a week. That’s right, I get it all done in one day. There have been times where I would do two weeks worth in one or two days. Eventually, I found my flow with one day a week and I literally have a complete checklist of what I need to create on that one day to get it all done. Again, block out your content creation day on your calendar and make it a priority. It’s the only way it will get done!
Bonus Step: Key to Implementing
I know that was way long and in depth, but I want to quickly give one more bonus step. A few months ago I realized that every time I sat down to create my content, my brain was swimming with thoughts like “what should I get done first?”, “Oh I need to start this!”, and “I’ll come back to this after I finish XYZ”. I literally jumped around on different projects and it took much longer to get the key projects done. So, I put together an exact checklist of every task I need to complete (in order). It is absolutely complete, and I never need to think about “what do I have to get done today”. The calendar helps me focus on my topics for the week, and the checklist lays out every single task I need to complete in order to get it all done. This process has saved me so much time. Please check out the bonus tab on the freebie so you can begin doing the same for your content creation sessions.
I hope this helps in your content planning process. Do you feel a little less overwhelmed and more confident with the content you are creating for your audience? You have something so special to share in this world- your stories, your message, your voice, your expertise, your value, YOU. I never want you to be holding back because you’re not sure exactly how to start. My goal is to help provide you the information, tools, and resources you need so you can take out the guessing work and start making an impact in the lives of those you serve. If you ever have questions for me, or suggestions on topics you want me to cover specifically, I would love for you to reach out and let me know.
Keep moving forward, friends!